05/22/2006 12:00AM

Belmont may lack Bernardini, too


In the space of 48 hours, the Belmont Stakes on June 10 went from a race that could have had a Triple Crown bid by Barbaro, to one that might not have the winners of either of the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner, obviously will race no more after suffering career-ending injuries in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. But Bernardini, the Preakness winner, is questionable to participate in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont. He came out of the race well, but he has not been committed to the race by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, whose Darley Stable owns Bernardini.

"Sheikh Mohammed will make the decision on wherever and whenever he runs next," Jimmy Bell, the president of Darley USA, said Monday.

If Bernardini does not run in the Belmont, the Belmont will not have the Derby and Preakness winners for the first time since 2000, when Fusaichi Pegasus won the Derby, and Red Bullet the Preakness.

Those considered definite for the Belmont are Bob and John, Hemingway's Key, Jazil, Oh So Awesome, Steppenwolfer, and Sunriver.

Also possible are Bluegrass Cat, Deputy Glitters, High Cotton and Lewis Michael.